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What is melanoma?

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Quick Answer

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, according to Mayo Clinic. It develops in the cells that produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its color. Melanoma can also form in the eyes and rarely forms in the internal organs.

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Full Answer

If melanoma is found and treated early, it is often curable, as stated by the Skin Cancer Foundation. However, if it is not detected early, it can spread to other parts of the body and become fatal. Although it is not the most common form of skin cancer, melanoma is responsible for the most deaths among skin cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

As of 2015, the exact cause of melanoma is not clear, but exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds increases the risk of developing melanoma, as stated by Mayo Clinic. The most common symptoms of melanoma are a change in an existing mole or the development of a new pigmented or unusual growth on the skin. To determine whether a mole is unusual, an individual can use the "ABCDE" method: asymmetrical shape, irregular border, changes in color, diameter and evolving. If any changes are noticed, the individual should consult a doctor.

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